In her latest Library Babel Fish column for Inside Higher Ed, Barbara Fister (Gustavus Adolphus College) reflects on the recent Oberlin Digital Scholarship Conference. Her observations about digital pedagogy and the ways in which libraries and archives are, might, and ought to be involved in digital scholarship will be of use to librarians and archivists who find themselves explaining and justifying their own digital endeavors. Her discussion involves tensions familiar to information professionals involved in teaching:
There’s always some tug between learning “how to” and learning about ideas. How to read a scholarly argument critically has to be learned even if it’s what’s in the argument that matters. How to write one has to be practiced, and the conventions for using sources . . . well, it all takes time, and that can crowd out the mental energy to understand the important stuff. Figuring out what we really want students to learn and how to strike the right balance between learning how and learning what is tricky.
Additionally, she draws attention to the conflicts and power relationships inherent in digital scholarship and among the varieties of people and institutions who undertake it. She closes with an inclusive question for the field:
We don’t get to choose whether learning will be digital or not anymore. What we do have to decide is what kind of learning matters – and who gets to have it?